Tuesday, July 29, 2014

{beauty} necessary objects

I am a creature of habit. I don't usually change my beauty regime often and when I find something good, I usually always stick to it. That being said, I also have been exploring more when it comes to products, mostly skincare for my face and a bold lip. When you are younger, changing the product that you apply above the neck is more harmful than good, but when you age this is something that you actually need to do. And, always being a bit bummed when the first week glow disappears, I am exploring my options.

Since I last shared the goods, I have tried out numerous things, and signed up for Birchbox to be a bit more proactive. One of my favorite products from there so far is a Cynthia Rowley silver eyeliner that works similar to Benefit's Eye Bright, but as my skin can get a bit oily and Eye Bright can sometimes get stuck in my under eye wrinkles, the eyeliner sticks a bit more and lasts longer for me. A brightener like this is the easiest way to make your eyes pop in a 'natural' way.

On the SPF front...what a journey. I used to have an amazing every day SPF that has seemingly vanished from existence, leaving me to experiment. I must have gone through 5 brands and always ended up with either white clumps on my face, a lotion that didn't spread well and a lotion that didn't absorb and made me look like Casper. The Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture hit the mark on every need, but I need to be clear, the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer line is the one that left white clumps on my face. You need to test. You also need to be open to returning the products when Casper is not your goal [I always made fun of my mother for doing this, but as I'm quickly turning into her, I decided to listen].

I've also started using the sensitive line of Roc products for nighttime. BUT, products like this need to be researched because as I luckily found out from knowledgeable colleagues, you should not use this on days when you go in the sun. The Retinol and the sun can damage your skin in ways you don't want to deal with. So, this becomes a Monday-Thursday nighttime routine, nothing more.

To quickly review the remaining 'tops', e.l.f.'s primer is so, so, so good. And it's under $6. And you can grab it from Target on your weekly run. The texture is perfect. I was also introduced to Buxom's line of lipsticks - matte is something I have usually ran from because of the drying affect, but this... this lipstick I can't get enough of. It has gotten me through HOURS of wear, through sips of a drink, and even through lunch. I still love my custom Bite lip, but I'm slightly obsessed with this new one and can't stop.

Lastly, I have been wearing nail polish since September/October without a break and my nails need some major TLC. Deborah Lippmann's nail care [you know how I adore the colors] are kind of key to having bare nails, but nice looking bare nails. Using the cuticle oil is a necessity always, but the Smooth Operator [any 4-in1 file, really] allows your nails to breath, look good and have a natural shine.

It seems like a lot, but each has a purpose, and each is used when needed. The key is to test it out and find your rhythm, like anything else.

Friday, July 25, 2014


I saw it was raining, but I didn't see how hard.
I knew that the weather was worsening, but I didn't realize how much worse.
I don't remember a crash.
I only know it happened because you told me.

This past Tuesday, a friend showed me a poem that her friend wrote to her when she was going through a breakup recently. While I completely cut it down and likely destroyed the few sentences I remembered most clearly, the idea of it really hit home as I am going through a similar experience right now. It's a pretty fresh cut, so I'm currently in the phase of "what did I do wrong", "why wasn't I good enough", "how can it be so easy to leave", and other self-torturing thoughts that literally keep you up at night. My usual way of dealing with these things is to take total responsibility - "I saw the signs", "I should have known better","I deserve this" to try and be the bigger person and feel like a responsible adult. You know what? It's bullshit. But it's easier to do that and defend the person that you just can't get yourself to hate because of the honest [maybe not as honest as you think] friendship and admiration that you had for one another. The friendship that may have blinded you to everything else in the first place.

I will be honest, the act of looking like you have it all together and trying to be the person that everyone keeps telling you that you are, and you want to be, is an exhausting ride. You don't want to allow yourself to be alone and fall into self-pity, so you make yourself busy at a more extreme rate than you're used to and find yourself more and more physically and mentally drained as time goes on. And you keep accelerating because it keeps your mind at ease, but only because you are too fried to actually think. You were in this same spot exactly 7 years ago to the day [7-year itch?] and you will spend all of your remaining energy to make sure that you don't go down that damaged path again. 

Instead, you delete their number from your phone, and any email that the number may be hidden in to avoid reaching out when you feel sad, or alone, or helpless. You know your patterns by now. Even though you secretively hope for the "how are you" or "I miss you" to flash from those 10-digits like you would have done for them. But you don't want to see it because you don't know how to start over. But why don't they miss you. 

Here's the main issue you now face...in a digital era, how do you really disconnect from someone? Minus the unfollowing of each other, which is also bullshit because you continue to look at their pages as a type of emotional cutting, how do you move on [this article I read in the NYT awhile back talks to this very well]? You still have this window into their life, pretty much a front row seat, that allows you to watch them seemingly moving on. Without you. Content.

The memories are everywhere on your feed. The photo that reminds you of a day spent hand in hand, a photo from a trip you took together that gives you flashes of shared laughter, his photo of a rainy night that embodies hours spent in bliss through a simple, short caption. You don't delete them because deleting them devalues the memories. They mean something. Well, they meant something. But seeing them hurts so you try and push them down as much as possible with new memories. 

You are also a severe creature of habit and easily fall into addictive behavior. How many times did you utter the words "this is my last cigarette" in a 10-year span?  Probably over 100 times, and not because you needed it to calm stress [what a delicious thought], but because you lit one when you got in your car once, so you needed to do it over and over again every time you sat in your car. That was an object...how do you cut a person cold turkey? A person who once made plans around a future they wanted to spend together, with you. A person who was your best friend and you shared everything with, and even though you know they will be the only person who gets it, you have to put the phone down and can't share it with them. A person who, when they last saw you and shared sincere heartfelt feelings to you, you had to watch them walk away from you, genuinely not knowing if you will ever see them again...is there honestly a sadder thought than that? Are you supposed to trust the thoughts your brain tells you to believe, or the feelings that your heart wants you to feel?

So, you find ways to try to start "healing". You burn some candles and push your tired body through work outs. You go to a psychic hoping for some directional path to shift your focus on, which only brings deeper things to the surface that confuse you. You write a blog post and share your experience with people that you don't really personally know, but hope one may have new words or guidance that may help make sense of it all. You make plans with someone that you thought at one point you should have given more attention to months before but didn't because of your situation, even though the thought of sitting across from someone else saddens you more than being by yourself. You dress up every morning and get out there in hopes that by faking it, it will help you make it through.

You don't know where this path or any path leads, though you are certain a dance floor or two will be involved. You don't know what the learning experience is [minus a really obvious one that you always knew] that you will take away from this when you look back on this months down the road. You wish you could hop into a machine and flash forward to the point where you're really, truly "OK", but as there is no such thing, you will try and reset your focus. You will focus on the people that you care about and rebuild the friendships you let fall to the side, and continue to apologize to them for doing so in the first place. You will rediscover the things that inspired you once, like your blog, that you let slip away because you put myself second. You will focus on the amazing, still new, opportunity in your life that you earned and will not let suffer. You will focus on knowing that one day this will all seem like a minor bump in the road and not a mountain that leaves you breathless.

- - -

I hope you don't mind this very serious content between my usual sarcasm and fluff, and if you have actually read this through, I thank you for sticking with me through this new reaction that felt like a part of a larger healing process. I don't have an answer, or a next step from sharing this, but sharing it with you feels honest. And we all need a bit of honesty and resetting in our lives from time to time to grow. Right?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

{style} white-out with Cotton

There are some pieces that you come across and have no reason to purchase it [been there done that], but you just know that it is something that you should bring home so you don't experience regret later. Seeing this Mantu 2-piece dress was just that instance. My justification is that it's 100% Cotton [which not much is nowadays, check your label!], so it's really easy to pack and travel to, I don't know, Italy, Spain, or a weekend in France.... 

I am wearing it here at an adorable cottage my friend and I escaped to in Montauk last week, but it also made quite an impression on the streets of Madison Avenue for work 2 weeks ago. That seems like it was worth the buy, already.

SHOP // Mantu 2-piece dress (similar styles below, Diana Broussard Plexiglass & Resin Chain Necklace, B. Makowsky clutch (old, similar here and here), Barney's New York sandals - best purchase of my life (old, similar here)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{style} Montauk getaways

I just took an unexpected, but much needed, girls getaway to Montauk early last week for the first time. While the weather was an unfortunate bust and felt like we were there in the middle of October, I was able to take a quick walk and sneak away to the beach with some necessary essentials.

I rarely wear this high-waisted bikini bottom to avoid strange tan lines, but as there wasn't too much sun, I was able to get away with that, a denim shirt thrown over me, and an easy Panama Hat. Just in case the sun did decide to come out... 

photo: Robin West [follow on Instagram for more!]

Target bikini top separate [style still available in stores, similar here], American Apparel bikini bottom separate [similar here], Urban Outfitters Panama hat [old, similar here], Ray Ban Full Color Aviators, Kensie back pack [similar sized options here + here]

Friday, July 18, 2014

{editorial} MakeSpace

If you live in a city like NYC, I don't have to explain how valuable space is. Even though I have a decent sized one-bedroom apartment of my own, closet space, and room to stack storage bins out of sight, I can never seem to have enough room. I DO have a shoe/bag/clothing problem.

I hate clutter. I hate the amount of books I have that I know I will never read again, but still won't get rid of. Winter boots that take up a beautiful vintage trunk in my living room because I have no where else to hide them during warmer months. The wasted space on thick cable knit sweaters and down coats.  [exhale]

I have never had a storage space because I'm lazy and the thought of renting a car/calling a cab to take you back and forth and lifting boxes by myself is not ideal and it is pricey. That was, until I was contacted by the brilliant minds over at MakeSpace and they opened my eyes the same way Uber has for transportation. 

Ok, so here is how it works. You create an account and schedule a time for their team to drop off bins to your door. You pack them up [mine included the random mixing of blankets, boots, more shoes, and travel books above that are more depressing than helpful], label each bin and schedule a pick up.

Here's the best part. Once THE nicest "Upload Team" comes and takes it all away, they create a virtual catalogue, a "Closet in the Cloud" if you will, of everything you are storing and which bin it's in. So, say in 3 months I'm ready for a heavier coat [heaven's forbid], I can log into my account, see which bin it's in, and schedule it to have it dropped off to my door. !!!!

Because they aren't awesome enough already, they have just launched a partnership with Goodwill NY/NJ for a donation tie-in [my weak spot]. They are supplying customers with a huge blue bag that a grown adult can fit in [trust me, I tried it] to put in anything you want to donate and they take it from you. For me, I focused on the bulkier items that I can't take on mass transit to drop off somewhere - gently used coats, shoes, bags, sweaters, a comforter - all those items that you hold on to for the sole purpose of just not knowing what else to do with them.

Ok, I need to wind down, but you know by now how excited I get by things that make life easier. Anything that can save a few moments in a New Yorker's life is worth a bit of a cheer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

{style} All Saints leather shorts

Nothing really needs to be said about a quality pair of leather shorts. I recently came across this amazingly subtle pair at All Saints [now on sale!!] and decided now is the time to start showing my legs a bit more. I'm 31 and I have never been confident enough to show off my legs because of one stupid insecurity after another. Until now. 

Ladies, we waste too much time worrying about slight imperfections that NO. ONE. ELSE. SEES. and we should be wearing whatever it is we want to wear when we want to wear it. Well, maybe not to the office... let's just start using this rule after business hours and on the weekends, K? My one main rule... if you are showing a lot of skin or wearing a tighter piece on one half, balance it out with a looser item. Adds a touch of class. Wink wink.

Theory blouse [ON SALE], All Saints leather shorts [ON SALE, get immediately; similar here and vegan version here], Kensie back pack [similar sized bag here and here], Ray Ban Aviator Full Color, Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Barcelona, Barney's New York sandals [old, similar here]

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

{runway} Giambattista Valli Fall Couture 2014

While my favorite Couture show usually hails to the wonder that is Elie Saab, there is something similarly attractive about the Giambattista Valli show that was presented in Paris. The ladylike silhouettes, the fanciful details, the elegance and mixture of prints - everything reminded me of a modern-day Grace Kelly wandering the streets and events in Monaco. Which, let's be honest, who wouldn't want to embrace that kind of style power?

images via Style.com

Monday, June 30, 2014

{on the street} let's hear it for the... GIRLS!

I have said it many, many, many times before and feel like a broken record by now, but I will never stop being fascinated to watch the non-verbal conversations that happen outside every Menswear show among women. One of my favorite things to do in my own wardrobe is to never allow myself to look too feminine. You girlie girls may think that sounds crazy. But in reality, when I was a child I never wore bows, pink, ruffles and such (wasn't comfortable when I was playing in the dirt finding worms), so I never feel comfortable doing 100% girlie now. 

And let's be clear. There is something extremely sexy and visually interesting about seeing a woman take on menswear - a skinny suit, a long blazer with a lot (A LOT) of leg.  I have always been a fan of "less is more" when it comes to baring skin, and these women prove the reason why 1,000x over. 

[PSA ladies: people will not forget that you have curves and a figure if you don't show it every day, promise] I mean, look at Tina Leung showing not an ounce of skin on top and baring that thigh high slit!